Technology Coronavirus is revealing ugly truths about social structure in the US
Facebook bans coronavirus ads that promote 'cures' and fan hysteria
Facebook is doubling down on its bid to stop the spread of coronavirus misinformation. Following its announcement of plans to flag and remove false information, the platform will now also ban ads that promise to cure or prevent the virus, as well as those that "create a sense of urgency" about it. Speaking to Business Insider, a Facebook spokesperson said, "We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention. We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every possible aspect of life—and thus confronting Americans with ugly truths about the way US society functions.
Any crisis or emergency throws into sharp relief the lack of a social safety net in the US. This virus outbreak, the most widespread in decades, is exposing the country’s social vulnerabilities all at the same time. Some of them will be addressed in a comprehensivethat Congress and the White House agreed upon on March 13. It includes “paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave,” to House speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as free coronavirus testing for those who don’t have health insurance and increased food aid and Medicaid funding.
Google explains how it's tackling the coronavirus outbreak
Google's efforts to inform people about the coronavirus outbreak extend well beyond a search alert. The company has outlined all the ways it's addressing COVID-19, including a bid to stamp out misinformation. On top of the SOS Alert (with news and tips) in web searches, you'll also see Knowledge Panels to explain the condition and how to deal with it. YouTube, meanwhile, will direct people to the WHO and local organizations through the homepage and provide ad space to government organizations in affected areas. Google Maps will also bring up "helpful and reliable local information," although the company didn't say what that entailed.
But this solution only underscores the fact that Americans lack some basic protections on a day-to-day basis.
I’m seeing talk of suspending evictions & water shut offs, of offering base income for people losing work, & sick leave for those without it. It’s kind of amazing how we can imagine finding resources to help the most vulnerable when we fear not doing so will hurt the rest of us.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones)
These facts of life that are not new discoveries, and will be known to people who work in these fields or follow news around it. It’s not an exhaustive list, and it’s a highly subjective one, crowdsourced in the Quartz newsroom.
Homelessness and hunger
- With schools shutting down in Europe and , New York, which is the largest school district in the US, has had to face the reality that if it shutters its public schools, hundreds of thousands of children would face extreme difficulties. Around , and more than The New York Times reports. Many depend on schools for their meals, medical care, and even laundry. In , a town north of New York hit hard by the coronavirus, volunteers and the National Guard had to step in to help with arranging meals for kids in need.
- The issue of schools closing down can have similarly dire consequences for college students, many of whom can’t just pack up their bags and travel back home. More are housing-insecure.
- Many people in the US since they have no savings. If they are unable to work because of coronavirus precautions, the situation becomes more . Some are considering eviction freezes, and a New York City group of landlords has pledged to for the next three months.
Paid leave and privilege
- Americans do not have paid sick leave, which is standard in many countries in normal, pandemic-less circumstances. Some companies have , and federal lawmakers included it in their relief package.
Our American friends stayed with us and they were totally shocked by the amount of things we get for work and medical. Just the fact that we have 4 week annual leave and minimum 5 days sick leave for every employee surprised them enough….. I can totally see it could be scary
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— AtBTSNZ (@FallenPandora)
Genuinely shocked to learn that paid sick leave isn’t an automatic right in the US. That’s barbaric.
— Matthew Hammond (@Matt_FinCrime)
- The in the US means that while some students are able to continue their education at home if schools close, many can’t because they do not have internet access. In Pennsylvania, 23% of households .
Society’s most vulnerable
- , and are expected to continue to be, highly vulnerable to coronavirus infections. Meanwhile, the US . For now, wealthy seniors or their families can afford (or close to it); others have to move into sometimes crowded, Meanwhile, at-home care workers who are and working off the books often cannot take paid sick days.
- Because of overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions, prisons and jails are highly susceptible to the . Some jurisdictions to alleviate the risk, while in others, people might due to delays in the justice system caused by the virus. Advocates are as another reason to —a system only used in the United States, which contributes to overincarceration and inequality. Meanwhile, prisoners are to make hand sanitizer in New York, resurfacing another issue: that of vastly underpaid prison labor. In a , inmates in New York will also have to dig graves for the city’s population.
Lila MacLellan contributed to this piece, as did other Quartz reporters.
Snapchat’s new lenses use AR to encourage social distancing .
Snapchat's latest set of lenses come with a timely reminder of the importance of social distancing. The app introduced two new lenses, created in collaboration with the World Health Organization, that use augmented reality to serve users with tips on how to stay healthy. One, labeled "My Social Distance," encourages users to "practice social distancing" and creates an AR circle on the ground to help visualize the necessary space recommended by the WHO and other health organizations. Another lens comes with animated reminders about hand washing, staying at home and the importance of not touching your face.
President Trump addresses the nation on the coronavirus outbreak in the United States
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Trump Addresses The Nation On Coronavirus From Oval Office | NBC News (Live Stream Recording)
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